Ever since Facebook acquired his location-based check-in site Gowalla around this time last year, co-founder and CEO Josh Williams (now a product manager of pages, locations and events at Facebook) has been building the next phase of local-social discovery. Despite a rollercoaster year that brought the “check-in” industry plenty of ups and down, and a fair share of speculation as to what would come next, the scope of the new location project remained under wraps. Until now. Last month, Facebook announced, to much fanfare, the release of a bundle of new and updated features collectively known as Nearby.

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